Open Mobile Video Coalition president offers support for IDOV for proposed ATSC mobile TV standard

Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) president Brandon Burgess last week penned a letter to Mark Aitken of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ASTC) offering his group’s support with the Independent Demonstration of Viability (IDOV) process for the ATSC-M/H proposed standard. The ATSC has called for the IDOV to take place by February 2008.

IDOV is one of several methods based on the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) discipline to ensure products and services — such as, in this case, a standard designed for mobile television reception and dissemination — function at optimal levels. DFSS focuses especially on deciphering the needs of clients and market requirements and incorporates those needs into the solution created. In this case, the solution would be the ATSC-M/H proposed standard.

In the letter, Burgess noted that the OMVC has formed a Technology Advisory Working Group (TAWG), to be led by Sterling Davis, VP of engineering at Cox Communications and member of the ASTC and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV). He will coordinate the IDOV activities with the nearly 800 TV stations that have become members of the OMVC since its inception April 13 of this year, as well as those activities with the ATSC.

On the TAWG agenda is to develop a plan for implementing the IDOV, “including testing activities, timing, locations, requirements for participation from candidate technologies and lab verification of certain requirements, measurement criteria, expectations for performance and other relevant items.” Beyond the ATSC, the TAWG will collaborate with other broadcast technology groups, including the MSTV and the Canadian Research Centre Canada (CRC), to pinpoint processes and testing procedures for independent implementation of the IDOV.

Burgess said his group was currently developing the test plan and expected its completion within four to six weeks. By then, he added, “we hope to also have secured the necessary funding for our portion of the plan’s implementation.”

Since its formation earlier this year, the OMVC has been advocating for a technology standard to enable the reception of digital broadcast signals in portable and mobile environments. If commercialized, these technologies would allow TV broadcasters to use their existing DTV spectrum and networks to broadcast to mobile devices. In theory, it could help them realize added revenue by repurposing content for mobile devices without a major infrastructure overall or necessarily having to “piggyback” on a wireless carrier’s network.

The ATSC launched the process to develop a mobile TV standard, dubbed ATSC-M-H, four days before the formation of the OMVC. At that time, Mark Richer, ATSC president, said in a statement that ATSC-M/H would be “backward compatible, allowing operation of existing ATSC services in the same RF channel without an adverse impact on existing receiving equipment.” It would allow broadcasters to allocate a portion of their 19.39Mb/s/8-VSB signal to mobile and handheld services while continuing to transmit services such as HDTV.

In May of this year, the ATSC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify potential specifications to be used for the ATSC-M/H standard. As of late June, it received 10 such proposals from such companies as Coding Technologies, DTS, LG Electronics/Harris, the Mobile DTV Alliance, Micronas Semiconductor, Nokia, Samsung Electronics/Rohde & Schwarz, Thomson and QUALCOMM.

The OMVC is hoping to launch mobile digital television services by 2009.

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